Monday, November 28, 2011

Hope and Refuge

I’m Sandra and I’m 18 years old. I came to the home when I was 13 in order to continue my secondary education. My mum lives far from the school and could not afford to send me any longer. Now I am about to graduate from school and was voted best classmate. My hope is to go to university to do Business Studies next year.

Rupert taught me and another girl to do simple accounting and we were delighted when we received our certificates! Now I help Osvaldo and Maria Luisa with the accounts in the home and it is great preparation for my course.

With the girls we do dancing to Christian music and use it to share God's love. I love choreographing the steps to this and teaching the girls.

I could never have done any of this if I had not come to the home and I am so grateful for the opportunities I have been given through being here.

Pamela and Vanesa

We are Pamela and Vanesa and we are 9 years old. We came to the home last year because our mum left us and our dad is very poor.

We are very happy here in the home because now we have plenty of food and new clothes. We did not have much to eat before and only a few old clothes to wear. We used to wash in a pond near our house but now we get to have showers every day and even brush our teeth! We love playing in the toy library as we never had toys before.

When we arrived we could not read or write. We thought we would never learn as our teachers could not help us. But we have been studying with Sami and we are SO excited because now we can read and understand our lessons at school!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Paraguay's Bicentenary

This is a special year for Paraguay as it marks 200 years of its independence from Spanish colonial rule. In true Paraguayan style it was a peaceful revolution with the governor handing over the country without a fight to the leaders of the revolution on May 15th 1811. He even formed part of the new government for a while! Fulgencio Yegros, one of the key figures of the revolution, was from none other than the village of Quyquyho, where the Children's Home is situated!

It was great that we had a friend, Vicky, to stay during this period as we might otherwise have missed some of the festivities. It was wonderful to wander through the centre enjoying the sense of celebration and optimism in the air - even the oranges on the trees had red, white and blue ribbons tied round them! We were also able to see Paraguayan dancing and listen to some young harpists, who played especially for Vicky.

Of course no trip to Paraguay is complete without a trip to the spectacular Iguassu Falls on the border of Brazil and Argentina, near the Paraguayan frontier. And they did not disappoint! The trampoline in the hotel was also great fun, though we are not sure if it was meant for the children?

We completed Vicky's holiday by doing the Bicentenary Walk in one of Asuncion's public parks, which seemed an appropriate way to end her very enjoyable visit.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Kindness of Strangers

The children in the Home have always washed their clothes by hand. It is time consuming and very cold in winter without warm running water. Their prayers never lacked a petition for a washing machine!

Thanks to a generous donation from Rotary Spilsby and Rotary International, the girls have finally got their washing machine! On receiving it the girls said, "We are thrilled with the machine. We now have more time to study, play, rest and read. This is a dream come true for us!"

But it didn't end there.

The Home and Feeding Programme needed more cleaning materials, cups and plates. These too were provided with Rotary's donation.

Next came the automatic water pump control. The Home has a well and a water tower but the water pressure was so weak it took hours every day to water the vegetable garden. Because of this they have been unable to grow many vegetables. However, with the automatic pump control they now get excellent water pressure and can irrigate their crops using a sprinkler. This is saving them a lot of time and energy and as a result they now plan to plant carrots, peppers, lettuces, cucumbers, radishes, onions, tomatoes, beans and various herbs. These will all be used for the girls and the children in the Feeding Programme.

And finally the chickens! 2 years ago they had a henhouse built but have not had the money to buy the chickens. With Rotary's donation they were able to buy 100 laying hen chicks, chicken feed, chicken feeders and water troughs. In 6 months they should have enough eggs to provide for the children in the Home and the Feeding Programme.

So a HUGE thank you to Rotary for their generous donation which went much further than any of us could have imagined!

U2 in Argentina

At last, having seen them in 3D in BA 5 years ago, we were abe to see U2 live in La Plata, Argentina in March. Sam, being diddy, had an excellent view of the big screens and the head of the guy in front her, while Rupert had a fantastic view of the whole concert. The outstanding show came complete with an inspiring message from Bishop Tutu and the participation of Amnesty International.

But there was so much more! Street tango in Buenos Aires, the stunning cathedral in La Plata, beautiful walks along the river front at Puerto Madero and delicious Argentinian steak! What more can you ask for?